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Those that have recovered from depression - how do you prevent a relapse?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I was never 'officially' diagnosed (due to drs not listening and refusing to believe a teenager could have depression), but I had depression a few years back. I recovered and have been really good for the last 18 months or so. But I'm now going through a rough time (uni stress, had to end things with someone i liked, house stress as well as work stress). Nothing seems to be going well and I'm feeling pretty low again. I've been off my food, feeling bad about myself, and earlier I suddenly had an urge to SH again (something that I haven't done in years), it came out of nowhere and I was really surprised I felt like that. It soon passed but I'm not good atm and I'm worried I'm going to go down another downward spiral and end up where I was a few years ago. Now, my question is to those that have got through depression, how do you keep positive and on track? I've got pleanty to keep me busy but I need a bit more. Any advice?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Erm, this might sound odd but it was recommended to me and has really helped. Every morning when you wake up you sit and write 3 pages of how you're thinking and feeling and then you don't look at it and you don't show it to anybody. I find it's a really good way of just getting everything out of my system, especially when I wake up thinking 'Oh man, this is gonna be shit day' before anything has happened. Other than that, I'm not sure. Hope things start to pick up.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I make sure I tell myself that bad days happen to anyone, me included, and remind myself of what I've achieved and things that have made me happy.

    Stressful times come and go, it's difficult to ride the storm but you also have to be able to think about the end of the difficulties you are facing.

    Also, take a break! I sometimes tend to go into overdrive and it can literally make myself insane trying to do everything I want to do and then some. There are times I realise I just need to stop and cool down, recharge my batteries and before too long I'm good to go. I am getting pretty good at reading my own signs so I can stop before I push myself too far. A part of that is identifying that I'm not 100% all the time. It only chips away your sanity if you try to pretend you are.

    The main thing is to remember that a bad day or a bad few weeks don't define your current mental health. They're just a reflection that you're living life and have normal-people feelings.

    I've had a tough winter and almost felt like I was cracking from pressure last December. Two exams, moving, I got sick as a dog, had recentl had a big change at work and then the christmas stress. I'm still alive and thrashing, hanging on for dear life until June when I am hoping to throw a double graduation party to finish this winter and relax during this summer. It's what's keeping me going. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    My therapy sessions gave me a good document before i was discharged, i think i posted it on here awhile ago, basically it's just knowing your triggers, signs of when you are lapsing into depression and when its just a normal bad day, and also writing down an 'action plan' based on severity (stuff from 'talking to friends' to 'appointing someone to take on your household duties while you admit yourself to hospital' etc.

    *edit* found it :)http://vbulletin.thesite.org/showthread.php?t=135154&highlight=crisis+plan
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have had depression on and off since I can remember... I used to be a self-harmer an self-medicate with solvents, alcohol and cannabis, though have come to learn that actually, even caffeine can have a negative affect on the body.

    I'd say the first thing is looking at what you put in your body. Mood is affected by anything which alters the mind (including caffeine) and diet can also affect how you are. Exercise is another thing which really helps.

    Routine routine routine...

    Set your alarm, force yourself to get up, go out for a walk or run... Make sure your meals are around the same time each day and treat yourself now and again.

    This winter I found very hard. I get very depressed in the darker months and due to an abusive housemate, I ended up having panic attacks and self-harming for the first time in eight years. :( However, I used mindfulness to control my mood in work and sometimes at home.

    The truth is that mental illness is never easy. Some of us will continue and keep relapsing in and out of it probably for the rest of our lives... All I can really say is that when you are down, remember how impermanent mood is and how it won't last forever. Ask yourself why you are down... Is it stress? Do you need to be doing something different? Is it a chemical issue? Can you change it?

    I'm off to a Buddhist retreat in a couple of weeks to learn more about Buddhism. I am considering a Buddhist mental health course as well... A lot of Buddhism is good psychology imo.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree with routine, and think bedtime and sleep is very important to staying mentally healthy.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have a very hostile relationship with my depression, I hate but am very well acquainted with it. The better you know it, the better you can read the signs for when it is coming back, and in therapy you can identify under what circumstances it is likely to come back. Things like CBT really help too with those depressy thoughts so if there is any way, via uni, adult NHS services or if your parents will pay to go privately it is so soo worth the time to increase your awareness of it and therefore ability to prevent it. Also I would say never ignore it, never be afraid to go to the doctor and say you are worried it might be returning. If s/he is really that much of an asshole, ask to see a different one.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've applied for councelling at uni but I'll be finished in a month so there's prob not much point. I'm hoping I'll feel better when it's over but then I've got a rather long and boring summer ahead :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think being kind to yourself and allowing yourself some time to recoop whether it's watching a film or using a new body scrub in the shower. it all helps sometimes on the down days.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    I've applied for councelling at uni but I'll be finished in a month so there's prob not much point. I'm hoping I'll feel better when it's over but then I've got a rather long and boring summer ahead :(

    I only have a month and a bit of uni left, I started counselling last month (or maybe the month before, can't remember exactly). Whilst I'd say that talking to someone is good, I'm not sure if going at uni would be best either- although they may bump you up the waiting list if you are leaving.

    Maybe you could talk to a doctor instead?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I only have a month and a bit of uni left, I started counselling last month (or maybe the month before, can't remember exactly). Whilst I'd say that talking to someone is good, I'm not sure if going at uni would be best either- although they may bump you up the waiting list if you are leaving.

    Maybe you could talk to a doctor instead?

    Sorry I mean I finish for the summer, I'm back for my final year next year. I dunno about the docs, when I went a few years ago they were really unhelpful and pretty much said that because I wasnt a 'serious' case (i.e cutting myself up and threatening to kill myself) there wasn't much the mental health services could do cause they have to prioritise more serious cases and they were full as it was. I may try if it doesn't get better in a few weeks though but I think once exams are over that will be one load of stress gone so I'll prob start feeling better.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi Ballerina,

    Sorry to hear that you are feeling low at the moment. You've been given some great advice and tips on your thread. Sorry to also hear that you had such a negative experince that last time you went to see your GP about depression. It's understandable that you would be cautious about going again this time. However, you may find that their approach may have changed over the years? It's not right that you were sent away with no advice or options.

    If you decide to visit the GP, then perhaps you could take someone with you for support, or you could prepare some questions or tick list of the things you want to ask? You may also find it helpful to check out the pages we have on depression. When you select a page, be sure to check out the links on the right hand side of the page, they are really useful.

    Take care and let us know how you get on :D
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hey ballerina, I believe I had depression in my mid-late teens, like yourself I was never properly diagnosed.

    I can't really explain what changed to make things better - perhaps it was my life situation, environment changed etc that helped improve things.

    Anyway something that I have really had to battle with since then is negative thought patterns, being very pessimistic, down on myself etc When I actually stopped and thought about all the little negative things my brain was thinking about me it was kind of obvious how I ended up in the state I was before. For me this has been really important, I don't really know if my situation compares to yours though. Maintaining a positive outlook is bloody hard work though and most of the time it feels really false.

    Try to not be too hard on yourself, bear in mind that things will become more difficult during times of stress and pressure - don't forget to rely on your friends, talk about things, don't keep it all in your head. Try and speak to your GP and if they're not much use perhaps you could try a different one?

    Good luck x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks guys, well I was about 15/16 when I went and they said I was too old and not serious enough for the childrens help thing but not old enough to see the adult help. I had it from the school nurse too who was really horrible and thought I was attention seeking and said I had no reason to be depressed because I was a teenager. I'd probably get taken more seriously now but I did have to see several doctors before any of them listened - and that doctor has now emigrated. I'm hoping this is just a bad patch that will hopefully pass when things start to pick up a bit so I dont have to go back to the docs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm seeing the uni councellor on tuesday...I'm really nervous! :nervous:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ballerina wrote: »
    I'm seeing the uni councellor on tuesday...I'm really nervous! :nervous:

    The first session is usually an assessment of how you're doing, where you're at, what help you've had so far. You probably will cry but it's ok! They are kind, experienced and understanding. I guarantee when you walk out of there you will feel like a weight has been lifted. Good luck!
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